The story of convict Sarah Rooney is a remarkable one.[1] She was twenty-five years old when she arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (VDL) on 26 December 1841. Earlier that year, she had been convicted of stealing money in her native Sligo, County Fermanagh, Ireland, and had been sentenced to transportation for seven years. Assigned to free settlers as a house servant upon arrival, she was soon in trouble with the law again. Between February 1842 and November 1846, she was charged with a number of new offences and punished severely for them. In 1847, however, two circumstances changed her life completely. First, she was granted a ticket of leave and, now able to find her own employment, was never charged with an offence again. Second, she married. Although the marriage was not a success – her husband deserted her after ten years – she emerged from it with a new sense of purpose and became a successful businesswoman. By the time she passed away, at the age of sixty-three in 1879, she was a relatively wealthy woman. In her will, she left £550.00, an astonishing sum for one who had arrived as a convict, single, penniless and alone, forty years earlier. 

This is her story:


[1] Conduct Record: CON40-1-8, image 214; Description List: CON19-1-3, image 78; Police No: 246; FCRC ID: 9234.


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For academic referencing (suggestion only) Database: [http address], FCRC Female Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land database, entry for xxxx ID no xxx, accessed online [date].

For academic referencing (suggestion only) Website:  Female Convicts Research Centre Inc., accessed online [date] from [http address].




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